Agri party-list pushes bill institutionalizing Kadiwa stores

MANILA – A party-list group has filed a bill in support of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.'s plan to put up permanent Kadiwa stores across the country.

Scaling up the Kadiwa initiative would be a concrete and immediate intervention to a food crisis and at the same time, eliminate the need for farmers and fisherfolk to approach unscrupulous middlemen, according to AGRI Partylist Rep. Wilbert Lee.

"Suportado natin ang planong gawing permanente ang Kadiwa (We support plan to make Kadiwa stores permanent). In fact, we have been calling for the institutionalization of the program and filed a bill towards this end because it presents a win-win scenario for all concerned. Winner ang magsasaka, winner ang mamimili, winner tayo lahat (Everyone is winner here)," Lee said in a news release on Sunday.

Marcos announced his plan to establish more Kadiwa centers during an interview on March 8.

“So, this Kadiwa program will just continue because now we are considering to evolve it. These won’t be so-called pop-up centers, but we will have a permanent Kadiwa center in various LGUs (local government units). We are studying the potential sites,” Marcos said.

Lee thus urged Congress to pass House Bill No. 3957 or the Kadiwa Agri-Food Terminal bill in support of the President’s plan.

The bill seeks to institutionalize the program through an initial PHP25-billion fund for the Department of Agriculture to set up and manage Kadiwa terminals in every LGU.

"Makakatulong ito para maging mas stable at mura na ang presyo ng pagkain dahil may direct access na sa pagitan ng mga producer at mamimili (It would help to make the food prices stable and cheap due to direct access between farmers and buyers)," he said.

He urged LGUs as early as now to coordinate with concerned national agencies on how to operationalize the President's plan.

"I hope that we can put this plan into action as soon as possible. This is an opportunity for the national government, Congress, and our LGUs to work together to alleviate the people's plight,” he said.

“Our collaboration will be key in making this work, kaya sana ngayon pa lang ay mag-usap-usap na kung paano ito maisasagawa (so it should be immediately discussed on how it will be done)," he added. (PNA)